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How Mobile Startups Can Stand Out In A Crowded Market What do you think the value of an MVP bootcamp is? Is it something that you would consider?

By Chirag Kulkarni

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One of the biggest problems with launching anything in this day and age is that you're drowning in competition. The statistics for success aren't positive. One study says that in the mobile app development market, less than 0.1% of apps will ever see financial success.

Those numbers are shocking and you wouldn't be surprised to find people pulling out of the mobile app market in droves, but the app market remains as popular as ever. So how can you avoid spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of your time to find out whether your product will achieve financial success?

Neon Roots, an app development company based out of Los Angeles, thinks they have an answer. They created Rootstrap, a product development boot camp designed to help you find out if you have a viable product without breaking the bank or wasting months in development.

"What we've done with Rootstrap is take the traditional app development model and turn it on its head," says Ben Lee, CEO of Neon Roots. "We recognized that the traditional agency model is inherently flawed because consultants are rewarded for billable hours, which just encourages scope creep and doesn't deliver real value to the end user."

Rootstrap takes a different approach, says Lee: "Instead of just building useless features, we put every good idea we see through intensive market and user research to validate that there's a real need in the marketplace. If we prove that to be true, then we scope out the MVP, release, test, and continue to iterate."

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is essentially a proof of concept: it's the smallest iteration of a product you need before you can show it to customers, investors, or any other stakeholders. It's a functional version of your product, but without any scaling or the bells and whistles of a full version. For investors, it demonstrates the capabilities of the app without exposing anyone to the risk of scaling without a secure investment.

The main benefit of an MVP is that you do not have to spend the full amount to get something you can actually use. It offers the core functionality of the app at a fraction of the price. Every app developer should be thinking about building an MVP as their first and foremost goal.

The Blindness of Traditional Development

So why all the fuss about an MVP? Because Rootstrap's numbers show that the process works. Rootstrap alumni have a 13% chance of securing investment. Compared to the average startup, which stands a meager 0.05% chance of getting funded, that's a 2,600% increase in likelihood.

The reason for this is that Rootstrap does away with the traditional model of blind guesswork.

Traditional development is about taking an idea and trying it out. Only when you have a finished product that you can take to market do you start looking for outside investment. And when you begin looking for outside investment, there are no guarantees of success. Fail and you will either have to cut your losses or continue trying to bootstrap.

As you can understand, most people do not have the time or the money to deal with experiments like this. But with Rootstrap, you can find out whether an idea is viable in as little as two weeks. If the idea works and you can secure funding, only then do you actually build the full version of it.

Is the Mobile App Market Too Crowded?

Some would say that you should not waste your time trying to build an app because there are already too many people trying to do the same thing. On the other hand, if you produce one of the most popular apps you can potentially earn millions from it. It may even lead to you getting acquired by a major company, which could make you a multimillionaire.

It is far from a waste of time if you have a great idea, but there are lots of barriers to entry simply because the mobile app market is so expensive to get into. All your hard work could be for nothing if nobody downloads your app.

A Worrying Trend for Developers

One worrying trend for potential developers is that the majority of apps are free, and even then there are no guarantees of success. To an extent, this makes sense because customers have been trained to expect things for free these days. However, app makers need to think of some alternative ways to monetize. This is an extremely competitive and experimental part of the industry.

This is why Rootstrap is more relevant than ever before. Its maker, Neon Roots, believes that the hardest challenge in the app development market is not getting downloads, but monetizing. This is still a business and if you are unable to monetize you are not going to be in business for long.

Try New Ideas

Even the most successful developers had to try out lots of ideas before they came across something that worked for them. Rootstrap allows you to take the money you would have spent on traditional development and try out ten ideas for the same price. And you can do it in far less time than you would have previously.


The mobile app development market is a difficult one to crack. The challenge is in monetization, making that money consistently, and ensuring that the product will succeed in the marketplace before sinking hundreds of thousands into development. That challenge can be overcome through securing outside funding.

Once you secure outside funding the sky really is the limit – but investors want to see a working, market-validated product before they open their checkbooks. Rootstrap aims to solve this problem by providing an MVP for a fraction of the price and timeline of development.

What do you think the value of an MVP bootcamp is? Is it something that you would consider?

Chirag Kulkarni

CMO of Medly

Chirag Kulkarni is the CMO of Medly, a digital pharmacy in New York City.
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